Plans in the pipeline to create a regional oil and gas hub
The state operator BOST aims to cooperate with the private sector by offering investors oil and gas storage facilities, turning Ghana into a regional energy centre
George Mensah Okley, CEO of Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Co., explains the government’s focus on positioning Ghana as the oil and gas hub in the region, and his company’s role in helping achieve this milestone.
World Investment News (WI): What steps have to be taken to make Ghana the oil and gas hub in the region, and how is BOST contributing to this goal?
George Mensah Okley (GMO): The ministry has proposed creating a downstream hub, and storage is the key to every oil and gas industry. For continuity, efficiency and profit maximisation, you need storage facilities for the various petroleum products. Therefore, BOST stands to be the fulcrum of this hub policy. Recently, we acquired a crude oil storage facility at the Aboadze thermal plant in the western region for usage. Our new business model is to lease these storage facilities so that investors coming in will not have to bother about storage, which will lead to a reduction in their capital investment. Also, if somebody wants to build a refinery, there is the availability of storage. We have put all these things in place for Ghana to become the oil and gas hub.
WI: What can you tell us about your strategy for investment and expansion, and looking into the future, under your guidance and with your expertise, where do you see the company in the next five years?
GMO: BOST wants to make sure there is liquidity in the system, and the downstream business will create value for everybody . We do not want to compete with the private sector, we want to cooperate with them. The present government has a private sector mentality, they wish to make the private sector an engine of growth. As a state company, we need to create the necessary environment to cooperate with the private sector and create value for all the players.
The government should lead the development of infrastructure and create an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive. We want to be a monopoly in downstream infrastructure for petroleum businesses. Policies are being laid down to reduce risk and stress on the private sector.
WI: What would you say are BOST’s competitive advantages?
GMO: We have been in the system for a long time, we have a footprint all over the country and we are looking to expand to other regions. Our downstream trade volumes are also an important advantage; compared to neighbouring countries, we have bigger storage facilities for distribution, whereby other countries can bring their products and we store them, and later distribute it to them at shore through our port.
Nigeria has a lot of crude oil and we are ready to store it for them.